The Duncan Banner
There was no military holiday set aside to recognize veteran, active duty, or fallen soldiers this past Saturday, yet, several in Stephens County took the time to do just that.
Dedicated Saturday morning was a memorial garden, which was an effort that was kicked off by the local Disabled American Veterans and joined in by the local VFW post, Stephens County Honor Guard and the American Legion. The garden sits behind the VFW building, 2012 N. Hwy 81, just past the pavilion and chapel.
“I had a dream and it was that I wanted to create a memorial,” said Tim Zinn, DAV commander. “It is a place of reflection and remembrance. I hope you come and use it for what it was built for.”
Over the entrance to the garden is an arch which holds the American flag, as well as those representing the military branches (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard) and one that flies for prisoners of war. Several men and women who represent these branches were in attendance for the dedication.
“Today, we’re here to honor all the fallen heroes of all the wars,” said Grant Hudson, VFW commander. “To them, we say thank you and that you will not be forgotten.”
Also present were Rep. Dennis Johnson and Sen. Corey Brooks, who shared words on the occasion. Johnson spoke of the unalienable rights Americans have — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and how those in the military are there to protect those rights.
“They have carried out that mission and some of them have given their lives voluntarily so that we could have life after them,” he said. “We honor them for that today.”
Brooks, a veteran of war himself, showed appreciation to everyone there on an otherwise non-extraordinary morning when they could be anywhere else. He looked back on where he was on that date in 2011 as a soldier in Afghanistan and that in every aspect of that day, he was in danger of possibly being injured or killed.
“That is just a random day and as a solider, they face injury and even death everyday,” said Brooks. “Every day is support our troops day.”
Beyond the entry arch are crosses set in the ground, each a representation of a fallen soldier from Stephens County. Standing guard at the arch is a concrete statue of a soldier. This soldier went missing not long after the DAV had purchased it and was found just under a week later with little damage.
“He has been a prisoner of war and has the scars to prove it,” said Tywana Ogle, president of the Ladies Auxiliary. “He is now a veteran.”
For anyone who has a relative who was killed in action and would like to have their name put on a cross, contact Tim Zinn or the VFW.
“These crosses are just a few from Stephens County who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Hudson.